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Friday, July 1, 2011

Worship


...WORSHIP...

            WORSHIP — is described as the reverent devotion and allegiance pledged to God; Webster defines it also as the rituals or ceremonies by which this reverence is expressed. The English word “worship” comes from the Old English word “worthship,” a word that denotes the worthiness of the one receiving the special honor or devotion.

In Old Testament times Abraham built altars to the Lord and called on His name (Gen. 12:8; 13:18):

Genesis 12:8  And he removed thence towards the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel toward the west, and Ai toward the east; and there he built an altar to Jehovah, and called on the name of Jehovah.

[1]Genesis 13:18  Then Abram moved his tents, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron. And he built there an altar to Jehovah. [2]

This worship of God required no elaborate priesthood or ritual.

After God’s appearance to Moses and the deliverance of the Isra’elites from slavery in Egypt, the foundations of Isra’elite ritual were laid. This worship took place in the light of history, especially the Exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt. Through Moses, God established the form and principles of Isra’elite worship (Exodus 25–31; 35–40).

After the entering of the Promised Land, Isra’el’s exposure to Canaanite worship affected the nation’s own worship. The Old Testament reveals clearly that Isra’el adopted some of the practices of the pagan people around them. At various times God’s people lapsed into idolatry. Some idols were placed on pedestals, and sometimes they were adorned or fastened with silver chains (Is. 40:19 “…The image, a workman hath cast it, and the goldsmith overlayeth it with gold, and casteth for it silver chains…” [3]) or fastened with pegs lest they totter and fall (Isaiah 41:7  Woodcarvers, goldsmiths, and other workers  encourage one another and say, “We’ve done a great job!” Then they nail the idol down, so it won’t fall over. [4]). Shrines and altars were sometimes erected to these pagan gods. But such idolatry was condemned by God and His special spokesmen, the Prophets of the Old Testament.  The punishments that the people of God suffered for their disobedience was to serve as a reminder for believers in future times that the Almighty God of Heaven was a jealous God, and He alone was to be worshipped.

In the New Testament, worship was characterized by joy and thanksgiving because of God’s gracious redemption in Christ. This early Christian worship focused on God’s saving work in Jesus Christ. True worship was considered that which occurred under the inspiration of God’s Spirit (John 4:23–24; Phil. 3:3).

John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. [5]

            The early Christians were Jewish and continued to follow the Torah and customs of their people. They observed the Sabbath and the Jewish holy days, such as the great annual festivals. The New Testament itself contains no references to any separate “Christian festivals” as there was no need; Christ hadn’t come to establish a new religion, but to correct man’s corruption of the one God Himself had passed down to Moses on Mt. Sinai. As they gathered together, these first believers would study from the Hebrew Scriptures (as there was no New Testament; the first gospels would not be written until 25-30 years after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.  Emphasis was given to the messianic prophecies that had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, so that new comers would receive a solid foundation of His teachings and His correct interpretation of the Torah of God.  For their worship of the Son of God, these early believers would suffer persecution from all sides; it would be this persecution that in 100 a.d. would split the early church away from its Hebraic roots, and away from the pure worship of Elohim as introduced by Yeshua.


Today, when we hear the word worship, how can it truly be described?  In trying to describe worship in words we lose something in the translation, the same way that emotion will cause something to be lost also.  “Worship” becomes either a draw, or a repellent;  we’ve turned it into a stage production with a brass section, dancers and a full orchestra;  we have polished singers and sound booths, production managers, power-point presentations, “worship leaders”, and on and on.  We demand either total reverence, with a solemnity of the old songs or turn it into an exuberant expression of our favorite contemporary hits.  We mix it up with gospel, country, soul rending ballads and classic hymns.  We use song books that date back to the 1930’s or older, or lyrics found on the internet.  The style and execution of what has become worship is almost endless.  Some say it’s merely entertainment, others see it as a vehicle to get them revved up, to “enter in”.  Still others just want to get it over so they can hear the message and go about the business of the rest of the day.  We’ve timed it perfectly, 30 minutes to an hour, then 45 minutes to an hour of preaching and every body is “fed” and sent out the door.  Some services, depending on the church or the congregation may be different, some getting into extended worship and preaching lasting hours, but by and large, the formula seems to be in at 10:00-10:30, out by 12:00-12:30 and all is well. 

But is it?  Is the soul truly full, and have we truly worshiped, or have we been entertained and dutifully discharged our obligation to God by doing what “Christians” are supposed to do: gather and meet at least once a week, and play church.  If I seem critical, well, I’m truly not trying to be, for in reality, how can I judge another person’s worship?  I can’t and shouldn’t play God, and presume anything about how another comes before the presence of God.  What I am speaking about is just to try to raise the bar a bit, to get us to think about what Worship truly is:  it’s not songs, it’s not dance, it’s not preaching, it’s not all the trappings and bells and whistles, it is simply a way of life, 24-7, of loving our God and posturing our hearts in grateful awe of what He has done for us.

            Several things occur in a worship setting; the sad part is often we misunderstand the purpose.  The purpose of worship is to minister to God, with thankfulness and joy; He is our audience of one as the song says; Christ says that we must worship God in Spirit and in truth.  Have you ever considered what that actually means?  What does it mean to worship in Spirit and in truth?

            We clap our hands, we stomp our feet, we sing loudly or softly as we feel led.  We let emotion run us and call it a Holy Ghost experience, but is this worship in spirit?  God is a Spirit; to reach Him, we must be in the Spirit, so that our worship is effectual.  What transpires in the spirit?  It is here we let go, let go of our wants, our needs, our hunger to be ministered to, it is here we seek to touch the face of the Living God.  As I said before, far be it from me to tell anyone how to worship God when at times, I don’t even know how.  All I can share with you is my own experiences, but I can’t direct you in worship; no one can save the Holy Spirit.  From my experience though, you’ll KNOW when you’ve connected in the Spirit, for you are ushered into the presence of a Holy God and everything changes after that.  I can no longer stand, I must kneel.  Sometimes it drops me to my face, for it is not a feeling as much a realization that Someone greater than I’ve ever encountered before has made His essence known to me.  That’s why I say no one but the Holy Spirit can direct you in worship; you are either there, or you are not.  I know that a lot of times, I’m on the outside of His presence, and this is because I haven’t positioned myself to go into the mercy seat.  My mind wanders, I’m distracted in my heart, I just don’t feel like it.  “Come on” I say, “get it over, I wanna sit down...”  It is usually then that I might just be given a taste of what I’m missing, a sudden chill, or shiver runs through me, and I realize, I’m cheating myself out of what God had in store for me for my hard heart.  This “shiver” isn’t like the ones I get when I’m chilled; there is a difference.  Now, this applies to me.  I can’t say how God deals with you; only you know this.  To worship God in Spirit, you have to be in tune with your spirit.  When I am, God meets me, or I meet Him, I’m sometimes not sure , but since He is always here, I’ll take a wild stab in the dark and say, it is me who meets, for I’ve allowed myself to go where He is, I’ve let my spirit reach out and touch God.

            What about truth?  How do I worship Him in truth?  This involves His word.  As I said, I’m learning all these things as I go; one thing I do know, I can’t fake it.  I must look into His word, and allow it to wash me in its’ truth, so that my hard heart is soft enough to feel His presence.  Daily, I have got to be in the word of God, for daily, my heart hardens.  With every little slight, or offense, or mis-step, or whatever, if I’m not thinking on Him, I’m growing a rock garden in my soul.  His word tells me how to worship, His word tells me why I should worship, His word lets me know who He is, so that I want to worship.  It isn’t in a church, or a sanctuary, or a mountain top, or in any place that worship occurs, it is in my heart that it starts.  I must live in His word so that I can live in worship, because for myself, it is the only way.  If I were to rate myself, as I should, as to what type of worshiper I really am, well, I’m probably pretty dismal.  I do not worship 24-7.  Right now, I don’t know how to be a “man after God’s heart”  all the time.  I let other things crowd in, attitudes and crud that just simply shouldn’t have a place in my life, yet there they are.  It is by the truth of His word, the truth that Jesus Christ is the Truth, that I have any chance to truly worship Him in Spirit and in truth.  What if we didn’t have a band, CD worship or anything like that?  Could I “enter in” simply by reading His word to Him?  What about psalms, what about His promises, could I turn them into songs?  Can I turn praise into worship and worship into praise, with no music other than that that my soul conceives?  Can I by silence or just being still usher myself into His presence?  When I can do these things, when it is just His word and my praise of Him, this is worship then, in spirit and truth.  Truth is, God is cool;  I need to tell Him so all the time; I need to seek His heart, and bless Him, and quit worrying so much about the other way around.

            In the Bible are many references to worship, and surprisingly, different words in the Hebrew and Greek that were translated as “Worship”.

            The first time worship appears in the King James is in Genesis, chapter 22, vs 5....

 (Gen 22:5 KJV)  And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
7812. shachah, shaw-khaw'; a prim. root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (espec. reflex. in homage to royalty or God):--bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.
           
            Abraham was off to sacrifice his son Issac, and he called it worship.  Could we call it that today?  When my son joined the Marine Corps, we learned that he would be  going off to war.  The Father asked me “If you never saw him again this side of eternity, would you still trust me?” It is a hard thing to be asked by God to give up your child.  God has asked me to give Him all of mine, and it is hard to let them go, to lay them down before God and say “Do as you will Lord.”  Would I call it worship if something were to happen to any of them?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  No matter what the outcome of the “worship”, he trusted God that the right thing would be done. All I can do is remember the promise gave to me, and rest upon that.  When I trust Him, that’s worship.  I become vulnerable and bow myself down and accept His rest and His sovereignty over my life.

            Forty-six more times is this word “shachah” used before we find another word translated as worship.

A few examples:

(Exo 34:14 KJV)  For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

(Deu 4:19 KJV)  And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

(Deu 8:19 KJV)  And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.

(Deu 11:16 KJV)  Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;

(Deu 26:10 KJV)  And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God:

(2 Ki 17:36 KJV)  But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.

(1 Chr 16:29 KJV)  Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

(2 Chr 7:19 KJV)  But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;


 (Psa 5:7 KJV)  But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

(Psa 22:27 KJV)  All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

(Psa 22:29 KJV)  All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.

(Psa 29:2 KJV)  Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

(Psa 45:11 KJV)  So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

(Psa 66:4 KJV)  All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

(Psa 81:9 KJV)  There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.

(Psa 86:9 KJV)  All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.

(Psa 95:6 KJV)  O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

(Psa 96:9 KJV)  O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.

(Psa 97:7 KJV)  Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.

(Psa 99:5 KJV)  Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.

(Psa 99:9 KJV)  Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

(Psa 132:7 KJV)  We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.

(Psa 138:2 KJV)  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

(Isa 49:7 KJV)  Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Isra’el, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Isra’el, and he shall choose thee.

(Isa 66:23 KJV)  And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

(Jer 7:2 KJV)  Stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.

(Jer 13:10 KJV)  This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.

 (Jer 26:2 KJV)  Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD'S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD'S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word:

Most of the instances where “shachah” is used refer to the worship of Jehovah, but some are used by God to admonish His followers not to bow down to idols and strange gods.  Here in Jeremiah, we see a different word used, “atsab”: the primary root of the word means to fabricate, or to create.  It also denotes worship in a “bad sense of the word.

(Jer 44:19 KJV)  And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
6087. 'atsab, aw-tsab'; a prim. root; prop. to carve, i.e. fabricate or fashion; hence (in a bad sense) to worry, pain or anger:--displease, grieve, hurt, make, be sorry, vex, worship, wrest.

            The people in this discourse, the women of Judah, captive in the land of Egypt, complained that ever since they stopped “worshiping” the queen of heaven, they had nothing but trouble.  I urge you to read the whole context of this incident (which is Jer. 44:1-30), but the bottom line is that God was punishing them for the sins in their lives that He had warned them about.

            Fabricated worship.  Have you seen any evidence of this in your life?  I’ll admit I have been guilty.  I have worshiped things I’ve created with my hands; wealth, position, material things.  I have elevated others to a worship status, hence the phrase, “put them on a pedestal.” I have faked worship, for there was no love or fear of God in my heart.  I have been carried away by the emotion of songs and music but had no truth in my soul in which to honor the One to whom the Honor was due.  These false “gods” brought me good times, for I served the master fabricator of lies.  When you serve him, he usually leaves you alone, up until the time he is ready to kill you.  Then the “good times” turn sour, and the grave seems to be the only sweet thing left. 

            “Shachah” worship returns in Ezekiel, in three vs., Ezek 46:2-3, and 9.  In the book of Daniel we see another word, “cegid”, [5457. cegid, (Chald.), seg-eed'; corresp. to H5456:--worship. 5456. cagad, saw-gad'; a prim. root; to prostrate oneself (in homage):--fall down.]
a Chaldean word, as the verses it is used in are written in Aramaic.  The word compares to the Hebrew “shachah” in meaning.  We find this word in Daniel 3:5, 10, 12, 14-15, 18, and 28. Shachah is used throughout the rest of the Old Testament, in Michah, Zephaniah, and Zechariah.

(Micah 5:13 KJV)  Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.
7812. shachah, shaw-khaw'; a prim. root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (espec. reflex. in homage to royalty or God):--bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.

 (Zep 2:11 KJV)  The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.


The holiness of the latter days

(Zec 14:16-17 KJV)  And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. {17} And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.

Of this last verse, Matthew Henry had this to say:

Zec 14:16: ... As it is impossible for all nations literally to come to Jerusalem once a year, to keep a feast, it is evident that a figurative meaning must here be applied. Gospel worship is represented by the keeping of the feast of tabernacles. Every day of a Christian's life is a day of the feast of tabernacles; every Lord's day especially is the great day of the feast; therefore every day let us worship the Lord of hosts, and keep every Lord's day with peculiar solemnity. It is just for God to withhold the blessings of grace from those who do not attend the means of grace. It is a sin that is its own punishment; those who forsake the duty, forfeit the privilege of communion with God. A time of complete peace and purity of the church will arrive. Men will carry on their common affairs, and their sacred services, upon the same holy principles of faith, love and obedience. Real holiness shall be more diffused, because there shall be a more plentiful pouring forth of the Spirit of holiness than ever before. There shall be holiness even in common things. Every action and every enjoyment of the believer, should be so regulated according to the will of God, that it may be directed to his glory. Our whole lives should be as one constant sacrifice, or act of devotion; no selfish motive should prevail in any of our actions. But how far is the Christian church from this state of purity! Other times, however, are at hand, and the Lord will reform and enlarge his church, as he has promised. Yet in heaven alone will perfect holiness and happiness be found.

            “Our whole lives should be as one constant sacrifice, or act of devotion; no selfish motive should prevail in any of our actions...”  Is this not what true worship should be?  Shachah worship, of reverence, of obedience, of humbleness, of adoration to our Creator.  What do we miss when we seek to close the gap between the Holy and the natural?  In our contemporary worship, we sing songs that contain a lot of “I” and “me” statements, and taken liberties with the things of heaven.  We call God “the Big Guy Upstairs”, we joke about St. Peter and the Pearly Gates.  We turn the Living Christ into a baby every Christmas and a dead guy on a cross every Easter, when the awesome truth of a powerful, resurrected Christ should be what we celebrate.  The sacrifice of the cross is diminished with every passion play, because for two hours we watch the enemies of God crucify Christ over and over again, but we only give His resurrection 5 minutes at the end of the play.  It is in the blood of Christ that we are free, yes but it is living blood!  He lives!  This blood that flowed from my Saviors wounds broke the chains of hell and death, and it is the same blood that now flows throughout a living Saviour.  Do we not worship a living God, or do we worship a cross?  The things of heaven aren’t imagined, aren’t cute stuffed angels or cartoonish characters; the things of heaven change lives, they heal hearts and mend a broken humanity back to its Creator.  Father, Son and Holy Ghost aren’t just the ending words in a benediction, but are the first and the last words, the Alpha and Omega; it is God we worship.  The gap between the Holy and the natural is already filled with the one true mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus Christ; my praise isn’t worship, but my worship must be praise.  Worship isn’t songs, it is awe, wonder, fear of a living God, and humble thanks that He allows me to even draw a breath, when in reality, all I deserve is His wrath. 

            When we approach worship, what draws God near?  It is written, in Ps 22:3;

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Isra’el.

If God inhabits praise, should not this be our posture when we come before Him?  For what truly is worship other than the attitude that we approach the throne of grace with?  There are times in my moments with God that I realize it isn’t song, it isn’t words, it is not my reading of His word back to Him that He wants; it is my attitude toward Him, my wanting to be a child, to if you will, “bounce on Daddy’s bed” and wake Him up in the morning, as my children did when they were small;  it is in that child like desire to cling to a parents leg, to never let go, to be close.  More than anything else, I’ve found my attitude is what draws me nigh to God, and then He draws nigh to me.  I think that to be able to come to God, and have a discussion with Him as you would your earthly father or a close friend is a remarkable thing.  To know that a Holy God wants to be that intimate with me is mind-boggling.  I don’t discount this closeness at all, but lets us never lose sight of one fact:  He is GOD; I am not.  There is much to be said in coming to the throne of grace and mercy with the reverence that the Living God deserves.  Yes, we draw near to Him, yes, He allows us to, but He is HOLY, and no matter what we do or how close to Him we think we are, HE IS GOD! O to live in that beauty of holiness! I loved my earthly father while he was still here on this earth, but not with a love that could be called worship.  God Almighty deserves, yea, commands worship.  It is all in my attitude.


(Mat 2:2 KJV)  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

4352. proskuneo, pros-koo-neh'-o; from G4314 and a prob. der. of G2965 (mean. to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (lit. or fig.) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):--worship.
4314. pros, pros; a strengthened form of G4253; a prep. of direction; forward to, i.e. toward (with the genit. the side of, i.e. pertaining to; with the dat. by the side of, i.e. near to; usually with the accus. the place, time, occasion, or respect, which is the destination of the relation, i.e. whither or for which it is predicated):--about, according to, against, among, at, because of, before, between, ([where-]) by, for, X at thy house, in, for intent, nigh unto, of, which pertain to, that, to (the end that), + together, to ([you]) -ward, unto, with (-in). In comp. it denotes essentially the same applications, namely, motion towards, accession to, or nearness at.
4253. pro, pro; a prim. prep.; "fore", i.e. in front of, prior (fig. superior) to:--above, ago, before, or ever. In comp. it retains the same significations.

            The wise men of the east came to worship Jesus.  Here, in the New Testament, is the word first used, proskuneo (pros-koo-neh'-o).  By digging into the Greek, we can see the attitude, the posture of this worship:  homage, reverence, adoration.  Looking at the literal translation, it means to kiss, like a dog licking a master’s hand.  Ever had that happen to you?  I’ve had several dogs as pets in my life, and for an example of unconditional love, they are one of the best.  A dog will sit and listen to you pour out your troubles for as long as you want; maybe all he hears is “blah, blah, blah” but he fakes it well.  When your sorrow wells up, what happens?  My hounds always licked my hand.  It was such a small thing, maybe meant nothing at all, but the act was symbolic in my mind of an act of comfort, of love.  Heck, to the dog, it might have been salt on my hands or that hamburger I ate, I don’t know... To my heart, it was so much more.  It was a kiss.  Selfless.  That’s what it signified to me.  That should be our worship, selfless adoration.  A kiss of love.

The same word is used in Matt 2:8 and 4:9-10. 

            Matt 15:9 and Mark 7:7 introduce another word, another “attitude of Worship”, the word sebomai (seb'-om-ahee), meaning a devout, religious worship, to revere or adore.
 (Mat 15:9 KJV)  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
4576. sebomai, seb'-om-ahee; mid. of an appar. prim. verb; to revere, i.e. adore:--devout, religious, worship.

(Mark 7:7 KJV)  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

 Notice the content though: God is speaking of men worshipping Him as they choose, with the doctrines of men.  We must be careful in our worship, that what we do is in spirit and truth, not because of religion.  Worship cannot be forced.  You can make a man stand up, clap his hands, conjole him to sing, but this isn’t worship, and unfortunately, we think that this is.  You cannot influence a man’s heart in this manner.  This only leads to the appearance of worship, not actual worship.  Would it not be better to let each seek his own place with God than to force a system of religion upon them?  Does standing up give God more honor than sitting down?  If I stand up with a wrong heart, it isn’t worship.  If I sit and God moves on my spirit, and in sitting, He quickens my heart for what ever reason, won’t my attitude then reflect what I’m feeling?  It is attitude, once again, not position that determines whether or not I’m engaged in worship.  God looks at the heart, and nothing more.  My coerced compliance with a religious system means nothing to Him.

Luke 14:10 in the King James is translated “worship”, but the word “doxa” (dox'-ah) is better translated glory or honor.  It is used in over 170 verses and is most always translated “glory”.
(Luke 14:10 KJV)  But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
1391. doxa, dox'-ah; from the base of G1380; glory (as very apparent), in a wide application (lit. or fig., obj. or subj.):--dignity, glory (-ious), honour, praise, worship.
1380. dokeo, dok-eh'-o; a prol. form of a prim. verb  doko, dok'-o (used only as an alt. in certain tenses: comp. the base of G1166) of the same mean.; to think; by impl. to seem (truthfully or uncertainly):--be accounted, (of own) please (-ure), be of reputation, seem (good), suppose, think, trow.

Turn with me to the book of Acts:
(Acts 7:42-43 KJV)  Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Isra’el, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? {43} Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
3000. latreuo, lat-ryoo'-o; from latris (a hired menial); to minister (to God), i.e. render religious homage:--serve, do the service, worship (-per).
4352. proskuneo, pros-koo-neh'-o; from G4314 and a prob. der. of G2965 (mean. to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (lit. or fig.) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):--worship.

In vs. 42, the word used for worship is latreuo (lat-ryoo'-o).  The word is used to denote religious homage, or service to.  There is nothing wrong with service to God, this in fact could be a form of worship as long as the work doesn’t take the place of God.  We see this too many times though, that we get so busy working for the gospel that we don’t do the gospel work and in thus, don’t worship God.  For in our zeal to do His work, we forget the real work of God, and that is to believe on whom He sent, Jesus Christ.  Worship of our Saviour should always be our first and foremost act.  We worship God in the temple of our hearts, not in the service we render.  Matthew Henry says of service:  “But as heaven is his throne, and the earth his footstool, so none of our services can profit Him who made all things. Next to the human nature of Christ, the broken and spiritual heart is his most valued temple.”  True service, this becomes the labour of love in a believer, who desires to serve a living God, with all his heart.  This then truly becomes an act of worship, done out of love and adoration for the one who saves.

            Again in acts, we are introduced to another word translated as worship: eusebeo (yoo-seb-eh'-o).
(Acts 17:23 KJV)  For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
2151. eusebeo, yoo-seb-eh'-o; from G2152; to be pious; i.e. (towards God) to worship, or (towards parents) to respect (support):--show piety, worship.

This is a show of respect, of piety.  Now piety comes from the word pious, which, by definition, is an act of reverence to God or gods, of service, of outward appearance.  Many “acts” of worship are just that: outward appearances.  This isn’t to say that a pious person isn’t truly a believer in his/her heart, but we have all seen those that are white washed o the outside and yet full of dead men’s bones.  Having respect isn’t worship either.  I can stand in tradition out of respect for those around me, giving the appearance of piety, but still be a heathen on the inside.  Reverence is borne out of love, and you either love God or you don’t.  The fruit of your spirit will reveal the truth.  The word also implies the ultimate act of worship:  ministering to God, to His needs, not our own.

Col. 2:23 brings us yet another word, ethelothreskeia, (eth-el-oth-race-ki'-ah) which denotes a true heart of worship, one that has a voluntary desire, a gladness, a delight in worshipping the object of our affection.

(Col 2:23 KJV)  Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
1479. ethelothreskeia, eth-el-oth-race-ki'-ah; from G2309 and G2356; voluntary (arbitrary and unwarranted) piety, i.e. sanctimony:--will worship.
2309. thelo, thel'-o; or  ethelo, eth-el'-o; in certain tenses  theleo, thel-eh'-o; and  etheleo, eth-el-eh'-o, which are otherwise obsol.; appar. strengthened from the alt. form of G138; to determine (as an act. option from subj. impulse; whereas G1014 prop. denotes rather a pass. acquiescence in obj. considerations), i.e. choose or prefer (lit. or fig.); by impl. to wish, i.e. be inclined to (sometimes adv. gladly); impers. for the fut. tense, to be about to; by Heb. to delight in:--desire, be disposed (forward), intend, list, love, mean, please, have rather, (be) will (have, -ling, -ling [ly]).
2356. threskeia, thrace-ki'-ah; from a der. of G2357; ceremonial observance:--religion, worshipping.

This then is the state of true worship.  How we approach God and our Christ will say alot about us as believers.  It is not the position of your body, but of your heart that truly is the heart of worship.  We are measured by God, a plumb line if you will...

(Rev 11:1 KJV)  And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
4352. proskuneo, pros-koo-neh'-o; from G4314 and a prob. der. of G2965 (mean. to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (lit. or fig.) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):--worship.

            The worshipers will be measured; whether they make God's glory their end, and his word their rule, is all in their acts of worship. Those in the outer court, they that worship in a false manner or with stony hearts will be found among his enemies. God looks at the heart of man, and as Christ has said, those that worship Him will do so in spirit and in truth.  How are you positioned today?  Is your life an act of worship or is your worship an act?  The questions sound so similar, but the meanings are night and day.  So can worship be.  Worship can be light, a beacon shining in a dark world, a life lived for the King, or it can be dark, lived out only for the show and praise of man, the choice is truly ours.  As there are many words in the Bible that denote worship, there are surely just as many attitudes and postures of the heart that reflect where we are with God.  Our lives will worship Him in our service to one another, and in our ministry to Him.  Will you serve Him in the inner courts with praise and thanksgiving, or in the outer courts where only show and religion exist?  Let your life be a true worship song, one sung to an audience of one.




[1] Darby, J. N., 1890 Darby Bible, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.
[2] Darby, J. N., 1890 Darby Bible, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.
[3] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[4] The Contemporary English [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
[5] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.